Maestrella, the specialist in mozzarella for pizza, decodes the trends to follow.
Every year, pizza returns to the top of the list of favorite dishes of the Portuguese. Moreover, it is the flagship product for delivery: it is the most requested dish! and represents 48.6% of household consumption in Portugal according to Marktest.
In addition to being preferred by the Portuguese, pizza is a very profitable product for restaurateurs with net margins of about 20%, compared to 15% for a burger and fries menu and 10% for the classic restaurant. So many reasons to make pizza THE flagship product.
The appeal of pizza is also due to the move upmarket, with the inclusion of premium ingredients (truffles, lobster, flowers, etc.), the explosion of veggie, organic and gluten-free recipes, as well as the development of a wide variety of formats (XXL, by the slice, etc.) or customization, for certain brands.
Maestrella, No. 1 specialist in pizza mozzarella, explains the 4 main trends in the sector.
Trend No. 1: Back to basics
Post-covid consumer expectations have transformed gastronomy in Portugal: menus are shorter, ingredients more regional and varied. This is also affecting the pizza market: there is a real return to the authentic pizza: made in a wood-fired oven, with traditional recipes and quality ingredients.
More and more pizza makers are cooking their ingredients with chef's techniques to add value and use carefully selected raw materials. It is the return in force of fresh and seasonal vegetables, artisanal cured meats and mozzarella such as buffala mozzarella, organic mozzarella, mozzarella cossette, grated or block or sliced mozzarella... quality products that make the difference gustatively and that allow to better value the final product (+2€ to +5€ on average).
Trend No. 2: "Healthy" pizzas
Healthy street food" is in vogue and pizza is no exception to this trend and is constantly innovating. Those who follow special diets can now enjoy delicious pizzas based on cauliflower or organic or without meat or lactose ...
Beyond diets, the trend is to add fresh and seasonal ingredients, such as greens, fresh cheese, dried fruits...
Trend No. 3: Gourmet pizza
The Gambero Rosso (equivalent of the Michelin Guide) publishes a guide dedicated only to pizzerias, for the first time the terms "gourmet" and "pizza" are associated. The pizzas are presented in 3 categories: Neapolitan, Italian and gourmet. To be included in this last category, the pizza must be disruptive by the choice of high-end ingredients (smoked salmon, lobster, foie gras, truffles, etc.), by the cooking techniques used and by a careful presentation that includes raw ingredients right out of the oven and sometimes more cooked ingredients such as emulsions.
The 50 Top Pizza competition, which took place in Milan in 2022, elected the best pizzerias in Europe. Among the big winners were Arte Bianca in Aljezur, Algarve, and Forno d'Oro in Lisbon.
The founder of Arte Bianca, Manuela Mattavelli, emphasizes that her restaurant is "pioneer in Portugal, since 2015, in high quality pizzas and pastas", justifying: "The pastas are made with selected Italian flours, coming directly from Dal Mulino, all natural flours, highly digestible. The secret lies in the dough and the Mozzarella, as Emanuele Zingale, chef and pizza maker at Arte Bianca, explains: "The work we have developed on the dough has been fundamental for the quality of the final product. The new dough we added to the menu is so light that it works like a cloud containing the ingredients of the pizza."
Knight of the Alba White Truffle, a recognition given to only 20 people in the world, Tanka Sapkota is a Chef Pizzaiolo with a passion for Italian cuisine who works at Come Prima, Il Mercato and Forno d'Oro restaurants, located in Lisbon. He is a precursor of the gourmet movement. Forno d'Oro features a wood-fired oven covered in gold leaf, the restaurant opened in 2015 already held the Pizza Verace Napolitana certification, also known as the "Michelin star of pizzas".
Trend No. 4: Personalizing take-out pizza
To satisfy millennials and young consumers, who are very connected and eager for "Instagrammable" dishes that are as beautiful as they are good, some pizzerias offer customizable pizzas. Just as effective, the pizza al taglio (or by the slice) has come back in force via "corners or mini-vans", allowing you to choose several different types of pizzas. A simple and trendy way to attract more customers, either on the spot or to go.